By Jesse Wood
Maymead Inc., the contractor overseeing the U.S. 321 widening project through Blowing Rock, will pave the final inch of asphalt from the Tanger Outlets to the Green Park Inn beginning July 24, according to Blowing Rock Town Manager Ed Evans.
Evans noted that the contractor also recently notified the town that milling and asphalt wedging will take place on the highway during the week of June 17 to 22, a week prior to the application of the final coating.
“At the very minimum, one lane will be shut down on the side they are working on – at least some portion of it,” Evans said.
Note that although this section from Tanger Outlets to the Green Park Inn will be all but finished, there is still plenty of work to do past south of the Green Park Inn, past Cone Orchard Lane and to Blackberry Road.
Currently, flagging operations and lane closures are scheduled from Rock Road near Green Park Inn to south of Cone Orchard Lane, according to the latest U.S. 321 traffic impact report issued by the N.C. Department of Transportation on Wednesday morning.
“Motorists should expect delays at various times throughout the day from Tanger Outlets to south of Rocky Knob Rd. As always, motorists are encouraged to slow down and remain alert for crews and equipment working alongside the roadway and crossing/entering/exiting the roadway at various locations throughout the project,” the NCDOT noted.
The project is divided into two areas. Area 1 is more of the commercial area from U.S. 321 Business/South Main Street toward Boone, while Area 2 is the more rural stretch of highway from U.S. 321 Business/South Main Street toward Lenoir.
The entire four-mile project stretches from Blackberry Road in Caldwell County to the Tanger Outlets, adjacent to downtown Blowing Rock.
Speaking earlier this month, NCDOT District Supervisor Doug Eller stated that the goal was to finish the entire project before winter hits the High Country.
“We’re making really good progress right now and getting a lot done,” Eller said. “We are still targeting the end of 2017. Our goal is to try to hit completion before winter.”
This project is now in its sixth year. Taylor and Murphy Construction was originally awarded the contract for this widening project in late 2011. However, the company went bankrupt soon thereafter, and in early 2013, Maymead was awarded the contract to takeover and finish the project.
These photos were taken earlier this month along U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock:
Looking south, the U.S. 321 intersection across from Samaritan’s Purse Training and Conference Center.
This photo depicts that final inch of asphalt that will complete the project and tie the curb and gutter to the highway.
Looking toward Boone from near Papa Joe’s restaurant
Looking south to where the Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery is located, the four-lane highway is still two-ways from here to Blackberry Road, where the U.S. 321 widening project through Blowing Rock ends.
This photo was shot in between Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery and Canyons Restaurant.
The U.S. 321 intersection at Norwood Circle.
Looking toward Green Park Inn at Norwood Circle.
Retaining wall near Norwood Circle and across from Canyons.
Retaining wall finished at Canyons
Intersection at Canyons completed.
Across from the Blowing Rock Country Club looking toward Canyons.
Looking at the Green Park Inn and the retaining wall by the golf course. Notice the sidewalks are complete.
The Green Park Inn
Across from the Green Park Inn, you can see the last stretch of curb and gutter that needs to be complete.
Crews are working on the concrete forms for the sidewalks as the cement truck follows behind.